By CAMILLE PHILLIPS , St. Louis Public Radio
There’s a competition afoot among St. Louis-area school districts that are trying to find the best person to fill open superintendent positions.
But it’s not an unusual situation, especially because the area has so many districts, Missouri School Board Association associate executive director Mike Parnell said.
Leaders of the Affton, St. Charles and Lindbergh districts are retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year, and Kirkwood has an interim superintendent after the district’s leader retired in June.
“There’s the mindset out there that if we get ours first we’re going to get the best person. And there may be some merit in that,” said Parnell, who helps more than a dozen districts in Missouri a year find new superintendents.
Superintendent turnover is higher than it used to be, according to Steve Humphrey. He’s with hiring firm Hazard, Young and Attea, which Kirkwood has hired to help find the right person.
“Depending on the district, and they’re all different, you’re seeing five years, hopefully, at a minimum, knowing that stability is really important for the organization,” Humphrey said.
St. Charles School Board President Josh Kean said he’s expecting to see some of the same applications as other area districts, but isn’t concerned about finding a good candidate.
“We have so many great school districts in the metro area, plus even outside the St. Louis metro area, that I’m sure there are going to be a lot of quality candidates,” Kean said. “My hope is there’s enough to go around.”
Lindbergh School Board President Karen Schuster also expects some competition, but she thinks there will be a large enough pool of candidates for all four districts.
Both St. Charles and Lindbergh plan to offer candidates jobs in December. Humphrey said districts usually start their search process in late September or early October and make their final selection by February.